The News Page: Head Coach's Season Outlook

The 2005 season brings a great deal of hope to the Lower Merion Team this year. It has seen a dramatic increase in everything dealing with the great sport of rowing. With the additions of the new equipment, thanks to the parents and the Parents’ Association, we will be able to field boats that will be competitive in up to date competitive racing shells and coaching launches.

This year, the team started off with a first ever fall season run through Bachelor’s Boathouse. The team throughout the fall made large strides in understanding the dynamics of how to move a boat efficiently and aggressively. The fall season saw many sophomores, juniors and seniors come together and learn how to really begin to develop not just as rowers, but as racers. This little change in mentality pushed us through the fall and put us in competition with the crews of Mount St. Joseph ’s and St. Joseph ’s Prep both last year’s National Champions in their respective events.

After the fall season, the team took a small break to catch up on school work and sleep and on December 2, 2004 , the team began a new and much more intense season of winter training than they ever had previously. It included four days of erging and one day of running every week through to the present time. These athletes took the notorious 6K test, which is 6000 meters of an individual racing against themselves in order to improve themselves for the team. They took these each Wednesday of each week. Last year, we had 5 athletes qualify by a standard to attend the World Indoor Rowing Championships known as the C.R.A.S.H. – B’s in Boston . This year we made the standard much more difficult and ended up taking a total of 13 competing athletes and 2 coxswains. Upon returning to Lower Merion from Boston , these athletes jumped right back into the workouts and brought a whole new work ethic to the team based on their experience. They were determined to compete at a new level and so far it has begun to funnel throughout the team. We have seen people dropping scores as much as 72 seconds within a three week period, all of this prior to getting on the water.

With these numbers and the new attitude towards racing and competing, the team is looking forward to getting to the water to learn some more and to teach the other crews what it is to actually race and not just to pull hard. The freshmen have been welcomed to the team and are beginning to know what rowing is. We are looking to them to bring the same intensity and desire to improve that will help lead the team to future success. They will become a great force once they are on the water. To help with this, we have hired two new freshmen coaches. The freshmen women will be coached primarily by Zachary Ben-Dov, who attended Temple University and was instrumental in winning the Dad Vail Heavyweight 8+ Championships time and again. The men’s freshmen coach, Mike Wood, attended the University of Delaware , where he was a member of the Dad Vail Championship Lightweight 8+ Crew and later raced over at the Henley Regatta in England , which is known to be the most prestigious regatta in the world, sometimes more so than the World Championships. We welcome them to the staff.

Tara Galvin is returning for her second year with Lower Merion and will be moving up to help coach the Varsity Women. Tara rowed at Georgetown University and after graduating has been attending Rutgers Law School in Camden , NJ , where she will graduate in May.

Finally, we welcome all the new and returning parents who without your support and understanding none of this would be possible for any of the athletes to row on the river. We the coaching staff feel that it is a great privilege to be coaching your sons and daughters on this team every single day. We thank you for placing your trust in us to teach your student-athlete the fundamentals of rowing and also what it is to push yourself. Please accept our sincere thank you for that trust and understanding. We hope to see you all on the banks of the river cheering the LM boats racing to a successful season.


Brian Conley

Head Coach